A 14 year old artist has recently accused Fortnite developer and publisher Epic Games of stealing their artwork for a skin.
Despite outrage across the internet on the artist’s behalf, it has been uncovered that the accusations are likely false.
The original accusation against Epic Games were first made on March 31. Artist Ruby Ramearez, known as Elecast across social media, made a statement on Facebook claiming that her design had been copied by the giant publisher. In the post, she showed her original artwork side-by-side with the promotional art for the Taro Fortnite skin.
Despite the skin first going live in-game during November 2018, Ramearez’s artwork was shown to have initially been uploaded to portfolio site DeviantArt in September of the same year.
According to the evidence she presented on both Twitter and Facebook, it seemed as though Ramearez had possibly the victim of art theft. The similarity between the two photos was hard to ignore, and the dates suggested that her work had indeed been created first.
As many other artists jumped to her defense across social media, Epic Games made a statement regarding the issue, saying “We take these claims seriously and are in the process of investigating them.”
Outrage wasn’t the only response to the claims, as many grew suspicious of the teenager. Internet sleuths keen to uncover the truth were quick to point out the ease by which such a hoax could be purpotrated.
DeviantArt images can be edited without updating any of a given account’s followers. Images can also be changed or even replaced without the initial upload date being altered, as some observers on Twitter pointed out. It was also revealed that Elecast’s original artwork piece had been edited the day before her claims were made.
Since being questioned on the matter, all social media posts relating to the artwork were deleted, presumably by Ramearez herself. Shortly after, her Facebook, DeviantArt, and Twitter accounts had also been deleted.
Though no further statement by Epic Games has been given, the accuser’s retreat from social media following scrutiny does raise major questions about the validity of her claims.